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Labour leader David Cunliffe's chief of staff Wendy Brandon has resigned five months into the job, citing ill health.
Ms Brandon was a respected Auckland lawyer before taking up the role in Mr Cunliffe's office last September.
Sources said Labour's caucus and staff were told today she had resigned because of a serious case of shingles.
Ms Brandon has been on leave for several weeks because of the illness.
A spokesman for Mr Cunliffe confirmed Ms Brandon had resigned on medical advice. The resignation would be effective from the end of February.
"She has been suffering from shingles and medical advice has suggested resigning was the best course of action.''
Deputy chief of staff Karl Beckett was filling the role in her absence and a process to find a replacement was underway.
"Labour wishes to thank her for her great work in getting the office set up and wishes her a speedy recovery.''
Ms Brandon was appointed after Mr Cunliffe took over the leadership, a change in which former leader David Shearer's chief of staff Fran Mold and chief press secretary Julian Robins were both replaced.
Ms Brandon was General Counsel at Auckland Council before entering Mr Cunliffe's office and was seconded as a senior adviser when he was Minister of Health.